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May 24, 2005

News from Salesforce.com

Amey Stone

I just got back from a lunch meeting hosted by Salesforce.com (CRM), the much-covered five-year-old software company that specializes in web tools used by sales people. I mainly wanted to see the company's charismatic CEO, Marc Benioff, in action and see what all the buzz about him and his company is about.

It turns out, however, there is some real news to report:

- Salesforce.com just signed Merrill Lynch as a new customer. The brokerage firm signed up 5,000 employees in its private client group for the service -- a major win for Salesforce.com.

- Accenture, the systems integrator and IT consulting firm, announced it is making "a strategic bet" on Salesforce.com -- not that it is shunning Salesforce.com competitors Siebel and SAP. Rather, it is going to emphasize Salesforce.com to its clients. Accenture managing partner John Freeland said he "continues to be astounded" by how popular Salesforce.com is with the big companies Accenture serves.

- CustomForce 2.0, a new generation of Salesforce.com's product that will be released this summer, will not only allow a new level of customization (Benioff compared its ease of use to MyYahoo.com), but it will allows users to easily switch between different applications, making it more like an operating system.
I'm not a software expert so can't claim to understand what is so exciting about the Customforce 2.0 release, but a Salesforce.com customer sitting next to me actually said, "Wow," when she heard what it can do.

The stock already had a huge run-up after the company announced first quarter earnings on May 19 (87% revenue growth, 900% profit growth), so I'm not sure today's news will provide that much more of a bounce.

What about Benioff? He seemed like a smart, straightforward type of guy. He was intense, driven, and confident, but no more so than I would expect a leader of a fast-growing start-up to be while making a power point presentation before a crowd. The company is hosting a party for customers tonight at BED (a trendy New York nightclub with -- yes -- beds as furniture), but I won't be attending that event.

01:32 PM


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I too was at the lunch and while Benioff is a great speaker I'm holding fire as to the future of the company until I see how it copes when growth slows.

Posted by: Iain Thomson at May 24, 2005 03:15 PM

Oh...and the President of the company, Patricia Sueltz, is gone.



Posted by: Stephen Pierzchala at May 24, 2005 03:38 PM

A Salesforce.com party at BED? You should have gone! In my experience no one in the software industry is a better host than Marc Benioff.

Posted by: Bruce Daley at May 24, 2005 05:14 PM

What a party ! But what about R&D? Looks like all their revenue is concentrated on marketing - not product!

Posted by: Bill O'Reilly at May 26, 2005 11:51 AM

Dear sir,

I would like to know more about customfocus 2.0 release, the online and offline data capture and sync mechanism of salesforce.com.



Posted by: suresh at July 15, 2005 04:18 AM

Salesforce has been a great solution for my team here at BWEB. However, after reviewing their mobile version we decided to use our own patented synchronization and offline access solution to give our field organization anywhere, anytime access to the information. We did this without re-writing a single line of SF.com's code or having to re-train our reps because our solution provides the same secure / robust end-user experience offline as they currently have online...with ALL the same functionality.


Posted by: Rick Ouellette at August 15, 2005 10:22 AM

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